SAJE Mourns the Passing of Board Treasurer Mike Neely

Cynthia Stathmann and Mike Neely at SAJE gala

By Cynthia Strathmann, Executive Director

June 22, 2022

SAJE is heartbroken to announce the passing of our Board Treasurer, Mike Neely.

For the past six years, Mike has been a passionate and dedicated member of the SAJE family. He joined SAJE’s Board of Directors in 2017 after a decades-long career in homelessness outreach and services in South Los Angeles. In 2019, he was elected SAJE’s Board Treasurer, and over the next few years he guided us through a critical period of organizational growth. During the pandemic, he helped SAJE weather the financial downturn and expand our staff and operations to reach community members in need of assistance. He also spurred the development of SAJE’s first Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion plan, now a key component of our organizational strategy. Most of all, he was a trusted advisor and a friend, with a finger always on the pulse of Los Angeles politics and policymaking. In 2023, we were thrilled to honor Mike at our LA for Everybody gala celebration when we awarded him the Community Champion Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Wellbeing of the Community.

Mike was born in New Orleans on November 9, 1948. As a young man, he served in the United States Marine Corps. 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines infantry battalion. Moved by his own experience of becoming unhoused after leaving military service, he founded the Homeless Outreach Program in 1988 to help individuals and families navigate the complexities of the social service system. The program began as a pilot with $50,000 and four staff members, and under his direction it became the Homeless Outreach Program Integrated Care System (HOPICS), the leading homelessness services agency in Los Angeles County’s Service Planning Area 6, which includes Lynnwood, Compton, and Huntington Park. Today, HOPICS provides services to over 4,000 individuals and families within the areas of housing, mental health and substance abuse, and reentry.

Mike also served on the State Commission on Homeless Veterans and the State Commission on African American Males and Substance Abuse, and he was Los Angeles County Commissioner on the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. He was a Los Angeles County Commissioner on the Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Commission and a member of the Congressional Black Caucus Veterans Brain Trust. He is survived by his three children.

 Mike’s lifelong commitment to economic justice, love for Los Angeles, and dedication to SAJE are irreplaceable, and he will be greatly missed.